France beat Wales with a try in the 100th minute in Six Nations
Last Updated: 18/03/17 7:58pm
France scored in the 100th minute to give them a 20-18 win over Wales in their Six Nations clash in Paris.
Extra time went on for 20 minutes with France camped on the Welsh line, ending with replacement flanker Damien Chouly scoring a try that was converted by Camille Lopez for the win.
Leigh Halfpenny's six penalties looked to have given Wales the victory, but they saw their hopes of securing a top-four world ranking ahead of May's 2019 World Cup pool draw in Japan end during a frantic finale.
France led by 10 points after 15 minutes courtesy of centre Remi Lamerat's try, plus a Lopez conversion and penalty, but for all their early promise, Les Bleus could not build on such foundations and managed just one more Lopez penalty until the dying seconds.
Wales relied on their defence to deny France any quick ball and were competitive in the collisions and the breakdown to stop Les Bleus from getting forward. With all the possession and territory, France should have done better but Wales slowly chipped away at their lead as their frustration and indiscipline grew.
However, France did not give up and kept their nerve to pile on the pressure as the clock went well into extra time with Chouly finally going over for the winning try.
That was one of the most remarkable 20 minutes of rugby we have seen, that included a prop replacement, countless penalties, a bite allegation and finally a winning try! First we have to mention the replacement of prop Uini Atonio who said he was fine to play on when Wayne Barnes spoke to him. But the France team doctor came onto the field and spoke to Barnes insisting that Atonio needed an head assessment allowing for a better scrummager in Rabah Slimani, who had been replaced, to come back on.
Wales were then put under massive pressure on their try line but looked on course to hold them off with seconds remaining. However, they gave France a sniff when tighthead prop Samson Lee was yellow carded. Barnes awarded a series of scrum penalties and, each time France looked to have blown it, Wales gave them another chance with yet another penalty. Play was then stopped after an alleged bite on George North but video footage was inconclusive. Finally, Chouly went over which allowed Lopez to nail the winning conversion to end a bizarre game in Paris.
Turning point 2
The end of the game overshadowed the rest of the match, but in the first half there was cause for both sides to feel aggrieved with the yellow card of Virimi Vakatawa.
Vakatawa was shown a yellow card after being adjudged to have deliberately knocked on a Dan Biggar pass going to George North as he went in to tackle the Wales fly-half. Wayne Barnes consulted with his TMO before saying he was not awarding a penalty try as Baptiste Serin was coming across and North looked to be over running the ball. France believed that Vakatawa was going in for a legitimate tackle and just happened to knock the ball while trying to wrap his arms around Biggar, but Wales wanted a penalty try. France were also upset because, earlier on, Jonathan Davies looked to have deliberately knocked on to deny winger Noa Nakaitaci the ball outside him, but no yellow card was shown.
France looked dangerous when they had quick ball but the Wales defence was superb as they stopped France, and the French were reduced to kicking more than they would have liked. Also good to see Leigh Halfpenny on target again while Justin Tipuric was just outstanding in defence.
Execution let both teams down - they could not capitalise on the chances they created and were let down by too many wayward passes and being turned over at crucial times. France and Wales wanted to show improvement and show they are looking to play a more adventurous and open style of rugby, but this display would not have reassured any of their fans.
Man of the match
Will Greenwood not happy with the yellow card for Virimi Vakatawa.